Nursing programs in 80 schools face closure due to poor performance

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Monday, March 19, 2012

MANILA -- The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) said 80 nursing schools risked having their degree programs closed due to low passing rates in the licensure examinations administered by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

Ched Executive Director Julito Vitriolo said these schools have failed to improve their passing rate for three consecutive years now in the PRC-administered examinations.

"These 80 schools are in danger of having their degree programs closed dahil masyado talagang mababa ang kanilang passing rate sa licensure exams (because they got low passing rate in the board examinations)," Vitriolo said during the Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel on Monday.

Although he refused to name the schools, Vitriolo said they are located not only in the National Capital Region (NCR) but also in the provinces.

Aside from their low passing rates, the official said the schools also failed to meet government regulations governing such issues as the quality of their faculty and the school's facilities.

Vitriolo also disclosed that 20 nursing schools have already voluntarily phased out their degree programs for the same offense. However, he said these schools can reopen their course if they comply with government regulations.

Among the factors that education experts blamed for the low passing rates is the influx of nursing schools in the country. The Commission said nursing schools now number 491 from just 128 in 1991 and many of them do not have the required base hospitals, laboratories, libraries and qualified faculty members.

Earlier, Ched Chairperson Dr. Patricia Licuanan said the crackdown against sub-standard higher education institutions is part of their effort to boost the quality of tertiary education in the country.

In appointing Licuanan to the post in 2010, President Benigno Aquino III described Ched as sleeping on the job and directed her to properly address all issues hounding the higher education sector, particularly in nursing education.

The PRC have already expressed concern over the low passing rate in the nursing licensure examinations. In the December 2011 board exam, the passing rate of 33.92 percent was even lower than the 35.25 percent in December 2010, which the Ched said was the lowest in history.

Only 22,760 of the 67,095 who took last December's exam passed. The low percentage of passers reflects the large number of poor-performing nursing schools, according to authorities.

From 2000 to 2010, schools have produced some two million nursing students, but many fail in the board exams. The Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders and Advocates claimed that about 200,000 nurses are jobless while the PRC said the figure is a little below 300,000.

The Ched and the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) have repeatedly urged incoming college students to enroll in courses other than nursing considering that it is already one of the five "oversubscribed" courses, the other being Teacher Education, Information Technology, Business Administration and Hotel and Restaurant Management. (AH/Sunnex)

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